LEGAL NEWS 28-29.01.2009

Plea for probe into charge against ATS rejected
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a public interest litigation petition seeking a judicial probe into allegations of custodial torture, including third degree methods, inflicted on Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur by the Anti-Terrorism Squad probing the Malegaon bomb blast case in Maharashtra.
The writ petition filed by advocate Kaushal Kishor Chaudhary also sought a direction to summon the authorities of the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police (ATS) to get their response.
A Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam dismissed the PIL at the admission stage. The CJI told the petitioner that he could move the trial court.
The petitioner alleged that Sadhvi Pragnya was picked up from her residence in the night without showing her the arrest warrant and was illegally detained for over 10 days.
The Sadhvi filed an affidavit in the trial court stating that she was physically tortured by the ATS. She alleged violation of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court relating to the arrest of women during the night.
The petitioner said the State police failed to provide information to the Sadhvi’s parents and others about the grounds of arrest.
The ATS conducted narco analysis tests twice on the Sadhvi, but when nothing came out of that, it invoked the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act, he said.

Bail for Sena MP charged with rioting
Staff Reporter
Mumbai: Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who led a riotous morcha to a city hotel, walked free on Tuesday after a court here gave him bail.
He was arrested and produced in court around 11.15 a.m. and left the premises by 2.30 p.m. amid loud cheering by party supporters.
On January 21, hundreds of Sena members vandalised the lobby and kitchen of Lalit Group’s Intercontinental Hotel in suburban Andheri to protest against employee layoffs. “Raut was leading the morcha. We arrested him from his residence at 9.05 a.m. on Tuesday,” police said.
“The court held that the sections 452 [house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint] and 506 (2) [criminal intimidation] of the Indian Penal Code were not applicable, because a notice about a legal morcha had been issued [to the hotel],” Mr. Raut’s lawyer Manohar Nayak told the media. “It was the duty of the police to maintain law and order. They are capable of doing it.”
The Sena’s “legal morcha” resulted in damages to the tune of Rs. 18 lakh.
The Metropolitan Magistrate earlier remanded Mr. Raut to judicial custody till February 5. However, he was granted bail for Rs.5,000 when his lawyers filed an application, on the condition that he present himself before the court when required.
Two others released
Along with Mr. Raut, two other Sena members — president of Sena-led Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS) Suryakant Mahadik and Sena corporator Tukaram Nikam — were also released on the same grounds.
The police arrested 42 Sena men on January 21 and 11 more on January 25 for the offence. In all, 56 persons were arrested in the case. All the 56 are now out on bail.

High Court seeks government’s stance
Special Correspondent
Petition seeks to declare that no nod needed to prosecute Pinarayi in Lavalin case
Advocate-General told to inform the court of government’s stance
Division Bench adjourns hearing on the petition to February 2
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the Advocate-General to inform the court about the State government’s stance with respect to a writ petition seeking to declare that no government sanction was needed to prosecute Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and others in the SNC Lavalin case.
The Bench of Acting Chief Justice J. B. Koshy and Justice V. Giri gave the oral direction when the petition came up for hearing. The court adjourned the hearing on the petition to February 2.
Closing a pending petition filed by T.P. Nandakumar, Editor, Crime magazine, seeking to expedite the investigation in the case, the court said it did not intend to open the progress report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a sealed cover as the CBI had already submitted that it had completed the investigation.
It was contended that there was no need for obtaining the sanction of the government as the accused were not public servants now.
KPCC demands action
Special Correspondent adds from Thiruvananthapuram:
The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) urged the State government to recommend to the Governor to grant sanction to the CBI to launch prosecution proceedings against the CPI(M) State secretary.
The KPCC Political Affairs Committee, which met here on Tuesday, said the CPI(M) Polit Bureau should give the political clearance to the State government to take recourse to this action. The KPCC panel also wanted the CPI(M) to subject itself to judicial scrutiny in order to clear doubts about its State general secretary’s role in the Lavalin deal.
Addressing a press conference soon after the PAC meeting, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister’s silence on the issue was stronger than any words he might utter. The PAC, he said, condemned the responses of CPI(M) ministers to the CBI report.

CBI counsel replaced in assets case against Mulayam Singh
Legal Correspondent
Mohan Parasaran to appear for agency; final hearing on February 10
My earlier opinion for withdrawal of CBI application is no longer relevant: Vahanvati
He wants court to allow CBI to take a decision on Mulayam’s representations
New Delhi: Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation changed its counsel in the disproportionate assets case against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh, the Supreme Court on Tuesday posted the final hearing to February 10.
During the hearing on January 6, Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam appeared for the CBI and the court grilled the investigating agency for its flip-flops. When the matter was taken up before a Bench consisting of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph on Tuesday, Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran informed the court that he was appearing for the CBI in the place of Mr. Subramaniam.
Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, said: “I had given an opinion in this case in November last [for the CBI to withdraw its earlier application] and it is no longer relevant.” He said his opinion was on the point of law. Mr. Vahanvati said detailed representations were made to the government by Mr. Singh and others and these were forwarded to the CBI. He wanted the court to allow the CBI to take a decision on these representations.
Justice Kabir told Mr. Vahanvati, “That we shall do only after hearing the matter and not now.”
Noticing the absence of Mr. Subramaniam, Justice Kabir asked Mr. Vahanvati whether he was appearing for the CBI or not. Mr. Vahanvati said Mr. Parasaran was appearing for the CBI.
On March 1, 2007, the court, acting on a public interest litigation petition from Vishwanath Chaturvedi, directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry against Mr. Singh, his sons Akhilesh Yadav, MP, and Prateek Yadav; and Dimple Yadav, wife of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, into the allegations that they had amassed assets disproportionate to the known sources of their income, and to submit a report to the Centre.
CBI volte-face
In October 2007, the CBI filed an application for modification of the direction on the ground that it was not bound to submit a report to the Centre as it was an independent body. In its affidavit, the CBI said it was willing to place a status report in the court, if necessary. It sought a direction to proceed in the matter in accordance with the law without any further reference to the Union or State government.
However, in December last the CBI sought withdrawal of this application.
Senior counsel Harish Salve appeared for Mr. Mulayam Singh and senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi appeared for the petitioner.

BJP will make access to water a fundamental right
Neena Vyas
NEW DELHI: After Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani held a meeting with experts on water here on Tuesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced that if it came to power it would make access to drinking water a fundamental right and conservation of water a fundamental duty.
Party leader Sushma Swaraj briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting held at Mr. Advani’s residence. It was part of a series of interactions Mr. Advani has organised with experts in different areas. The party wants to include some of these issues in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.
Ms. Swaraj said if a National Democratic Alliance government was formed after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, a drinking water and sanitation mission would be set up under the Prime Minister.
Among the experts present were Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute R.K. Pachauri, the former chairman of the Central Ground Water Board D.K. Chadha, Chairperson of the Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain and the former head of the gastroenterology department at the AIIMS, B.N. Tandon.
It was noted that safe and clean drinking water was not yet available to 10 per cent of India’s population. This was responsible for a large number of diseases. The other related problem of sanitation also needed attention.
Experts felt that India had adequate water resources to meet demand. However, it needed to increase its storage capacity and draw up plans to use the resource in a sustainable and efficient manner.
Minimum mandatory standards for the quality of drinking water should be laid down and it should be made available free for all. It was felt that 20 litres of water per capita per day should be ensured to cover the need for water for uses other than drinking.
Some experts pleaded for removal of inequities in the supply of water.
Mr. Advani assured the experts that a BJP-led government would make water and sanitation an important part of its programme.

Additional Judicial Magistrate Court inauguration on February 1
Staff Reporter
Law Minister, High Court Chief Justice to take part
KRISHNAGIRI: High Court Chief Justice (In charge) S.J. Mukopadyaya would inaugurate the Additional Judicial Magistrate Court (JMC) in Krishnagiri on February 1, said the District Judge C. Raghavan here on Tuesday.
Mr. Raghavan told reporters here that the present jurisdiction of the JMC would be bifurcated and he would handle 2,270 cases and rest 1,574 cases would be handled by the new Additional Judicial Magistrate Court.
He said Law Minister P. Duraimurugan, High Court Judge P. Murugesan would participate in the function
The judges would also distribute cheques to the affected families through mutual settlement arrived at the Lok Adalats conducted in Krishnagiri and Hosur.
He said that Lok Adalat would be conducted weekly twice. Lawyers attached to the Krishnagiri courts are cooperating for the speedy disposal of family cases, cases relating to insurance claims from various private and public sector insurance firms. About 249 cases were settled during the special Lok Adalats conducted during last three weeks. The settlement amounts to over Rs. 2 crore in 221 cases in Krishnagiri and over Rs. 45 lakh in 28 cases in Hosur.
Two major accident cases were also solved across the table, as one victim claimed Rs. 15 lakh as compensation, it was settled at Rs. 6.90 lakh and another case was settled at Rs. 5.96 lakh as against their claim of Rs. 10 lakh.
Mr. Raghavan said two public sector insurance firms, Oriental Insurance Corporation Limited and National Insurance Corporation, are cooperating with the judicial authorities for speedy settlements through Alternative Dispute Redressal System. B.A. Asokan, president, Krishnagiri Bar Association said E.G. Sugavanam, MP, has allotted Rs. 7 lakh through MPLAD fund for construction of multi-purpose building within the court complex and T. Senguttuvan, MLA, allotted Rs. 7.50 lakh for construction of arch for the court complex.
Additional District Judge S. Kumaraguru, Public Prosecutor K.C. Krishnan, Government Pleader M. Thanikachalam and Advocate V. Yuvaraj, coordinator for Lok Adalats were present.

Life sentence confirmed
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has confirmed the life sentence awarded to a woman in a case relating to the death of her daughter-in-law, an advocate.
The prosecution case was that Tarakeshwari got married to Balaji in August 1998. She was living with her husband and in-laws at Perambur. There used to be frequent quarrels between Tarakeshwari and her mother-in-law Shyamala. Tarakeshwari died in November 2000. The sessions court held that she died of strangulation, and her body was set ablaze to make it appear as a case of suicide. It awarded life sentence to Shyamala. Hence, she preferred the present appeal.

Repeal Land Acquisition Act for it is antiquated: farmers
Special Correspondent
“Indiscriminate land acquisition has only promoted real estate business”
CUDDALORE: The Tamil Nadu Uzhavar Periyakkam, founded by PMK leader S.Ramadoss, has urged the government to repeal the antiquated Land Acquisition Act 1894 since it is detrimental to the interests of the farmers.
The Periyakkam that organised a consultative meeting with the representatives of various farmers’ associations here recently passed a resolution in this regard.
The indiscriminate acquisition of land had only promoted real estate business rather than industries, whereas, the land providers were reduced to penury.
Therefore, it called upon the government to bring out a white paper on the status of those who had given lands for various projects.
It said that the government should not act as a middleman in acquiring lands for private industries.
Demand to offer market price
If the government ought to acquire land for important projects it should offer market price and also provide jobs to the land providers and extend all benefits offered by the departments concerned.
The private companies should share profits with the land providers, besides giving them suitable jobs.
Therefore, to make provision for such benefits the Land Acquisition Act should be jettisoned and a new legislation should be passed in its place.
In another resolution the Periyakkam noted that the educational institutions and other companies had acquired hundreds of acres of land, denying access to the farmers to common water sources and pathways. Hence, it called for suitable remedial measures.
In yet another resolution, the Periyakkam voiced concern over the excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides that had ruined the soil and also caused health problems to the consumers.
Separate farm varsity
Therefore, a separate agricultural university should be set up either in Cuddalore or Villupuram district to promote the safe and natural agricultural practices.
Prizes should be instituted for the farmers adopting natural farm practices for raising crops and the System of Rice Intensification.
It called upon the government to fix the procurement price of Rs 1,250 for a quintal of paddy, Rs 2,000 for a tonne of sugarcane, Rs 25 for a litre of milk, Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 for a bag (80 kg) of groundnut and cashew.
It urged the government to give the flood relief of Rs 7,500 a hectare (fixed for paddy famrers) for those raising groundnut, banana, cotton, brinjal, chillies, flowers and jowar.

Affidavits mandatory for anticipatory bail pleas
Staff Reporter
Bench orders arrest of an accused for suppressing facts
Registry directed not to take on file anticipatory bail applications without supporting affidavits
Accused obtained advance bail from sessions court at Kanyakumari on January 5
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has made it mandatory for those seeking anticipatory bail to submit sworn affidavits stating that they have not filed similar applications either in the same court or lower courts.
Justice P.R. Shivakumar laid down the stipulation while disposing of an application filed by an accused in a case of attempt to murder, who had obtained advance bail from a sessions court, but did not comply with the conditions.
Such suppression of facts could not be tolerated, the judge said. “This court directs that the Office (Registry), in future, shall not number [take on file] anticipatory bail applications without supporting affidavits.”
The judge said the High Court was accepting bail and anticipatory bail pleas and other such petitions without affidavits only because of “representations made by the Bar.” At present, it insisted on affidavits only in writ petitions and writ appeals, among others.
Mr. Justice Shivakumar also cancelled the advance bail granted by the sessions court to J. Saleem Kumar (32) of Kanyakumari district and directed the Tiruvattar police to immediately arrest and remand him to judicial custody.
The petitioner, along with two others, was accused of having assaulted a mason with a knife and stick owing to enmity. He sought anticipatory bail from the High Court, claiming he was falsely implicated. However, during the arguments, Government Advocate P. Rajendran brought to the court’s notice that the accused had obtained advance bail from the sessions court at Kanyakumari on January 5. The prosecution produced a copy of the lower court order.
After perusing the order, Mr. Justice Shivakumar said: “Suppression of fact is a ground for cancellation of anticipatory bail obtained by the petitioner.”

PIL seeks action against cinema theatres in the city
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: A public interest litigation petition has been filed before the Madras High Court Bench here seeking a direction to the district administration and the Corporation to act against alleged irregularities in cinema halls in and around the city.
A Division Bench of Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice P. Murgesen ordered notice to the Collector, Corporation Commissioner, police officials, the Films Division and managers of 15 theatre complexes returnable by four weeks.
Petitioner S. Saravanan, a practising lawyer, claimed that the theatres charge more than government prescribed rates, do not provide proper air-conditioning facility and fail to maintain toilets in hygienic condition.
Public money was swindled without providing basic amenities as per the pre-condition for grant of licence for theatres. The violations were being perpetrated with the knowledge of the Government officials concerned, he alleged.
“I further submit that I am informed that the authorities by taking illegal gratification and bribe money from the theatre owners or managers wilfully and deliberately refuse to discharge their statutory duties,” the petitioner’s affidavit read.
His counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar contended that his client had sent representations to the officials on December 11 to initiate action against the offenders. But there was no response or reply from the authorities.

‘Implement CrPC amendments’
Staff Reporter
Hyderabad: The recent amendments made to Section 41 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which aims at ending arbitrary arrests and detention by police, has found strong support from Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), a city-based NGO.Members of the foundation demanded the government to implement the CrPC amendment, thereby putting an end to arbitrary arrests, during a press conference here on Tuesday.
They wanted a three member committee to be formed with powers to summon and punish errant police officers so that the load on criminal judicial system was reduced. “The amendment is expected to reduce corruption and extortions in police stations and will also decrease the number of false complaints,” said Uma Challa, member of SIFF. If the law was notified in the Gazette at the earliest, police would be free from involvement in personal and political disputes, she said .
Ms. Challa said more than 1,23,000 women were arrested and jailed in the last four years without investigation under the Section 498A of IPC.

YMCA felicitates new High Court Judges
Staff Reporter
KOCHI: Technicalities and procedures should not impede the delivery of justice, the Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court J. B. Koshy has said.
The larger picture should be seen, so that those deserving justice are not denied it, he said, at a function organised here on Tuesday by the Ernakulam YMCA to felicitate four new judges of the Kerala High Court.
“The poor and downtrodden must get justice, even if they cannot afford a leading lawyer. Judges must never get egoistic and must take note of the fact that a bigger judge (God) is watching their actions. Only God Almighty can help the Judge assess whether a witness or a party to the case is speaking the truth or a lie.”
Justice Koshy said that ever since he was sworn in as a judge, he had not taken leave even for marriages of close relatives. “One should not take unnecessary leave when around a lakh cases are pending before the court.”
The others who spoke include the four new judges – K. Surendra Mohan, P. R. Ramachandra Menon, C. K. Abdul Rahim and C. T. Ravikumar; the YMCA general secretary J. Ommen and president Babu C. George.

Court dismisses Mahant’s plea
Staff Reporter
‘Order to prosecute him justified’
Mahant had sold DDA land fraudulently
Court also imposes fine on him and his counsel
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by the “mahant” of Kalkaji temple here seeking quashing of a judgment by a Single Bench of the Court rejecting his plea for a decree in his favour declaring him the owner of 22.15 bighas of land at Bahapur village in South Delhi.
Perjury case
Dismissing the suit of Mahant Surendra Nath as withdrawn, the Single Bench of Justice S.K. Kaul had ordered prosecution of the mahant, his counsel and others for committing perjury by putting in wrong averments in the suit and asked the Delhi police to register an FIR against them for selling the land fraudulently.
Dismissing his appeal, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Suresh Kait said: “The directions for initiating action by filing a complaint under Section 340 (perjury) of the Code for Criminal Procedure and registration of an FIR by the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police are perfectly justified as ingredients for proceeding under the aforesaid provisions have been satisfied, prima facie, in this case.”
The Court also imposed a cost of Rs.25,000 each on the mahant and his counsel. The Division Bench said it was limiting the cost to Rs.25,000 only because there was already a cost of Rs.1,50,000 imposed by the Single Bench on the mahant.
The Centre had transferred the land in question to the Delhi Development Authority in 1983 but the “mahant” subsequently had sold it fraudulently to his four relatives in 1999.
The mahant had filed the suit when the DDA started fencing the land.

Senior Delhi officer gets anticipatory bail
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to a former Joint Director of the Delhi Government’s Social Welfare Department in a case pertaining to an alleged scam in purchase of various articles for destitute children put up at a Safety Home at Majnu Ka Tila in North Delhi.
Justice M.C. Garg granted bail to Shashi Kaushal on her furnishing a bail bond of Rs.25,000 with one surety of like amount. He also asked her to join the investigation as and when required, not to leave the country, and undergo a lie detector or narco test as directed by the investigating agency.
The allegation of the Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch, investigating the case, was that the Joint Director had a direct hand in the scam.

Five accused convicted in German woman rape case
Quantum of punishment to be pronounced by Chandigarh court today
All accused present in the court
Charges against were framed on December 22
Chandigarh: In a speedy trial that lasted just a week, a local court on Tuesday convicted five accused of raping a 20-year-old German tourist here in September.
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Attri convicted the accused, all of whom were present, and posted the matter for Wednesday when the quantum of punishment will be pronounced.
Pankaj Punia, Manvir Singh Jolly, Harpreet Singh Dalli, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi and Sompal were convicted under Section 376 (2) (g) (gang rape), 366-A (kidnapping for illicit sex), 473 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code.
The accused were booked for kidnapping the woman from outside a five star hotel here on September 28 and taking her to a farmhouse in Haryana’s Samalakha area where she was gangraped. The in-camera proceedings in the case were held on January 16-17. The recording of statement and cross- examination of the German girl, who had specially flown to India to depose in the case, was completed on January 17.
The day-to-day hearing in the case had resumed last Monday. The victim spoke in German during recording of her statement and was helped by three interpreters including one from the German Embassy. The woman had deposed before Additional District and Sessions Judge ’s court and had gone back to her home on January 18. The Chandigarh administration had borne the cost of her airfare.
Meanwhile, Public Prosecutor Manu Kakkar said it was a record of sorts that the trial had ended in such a short span in a regular court.
“It is definitely going to be among the cases where quick disposal has happened,” he told reporters.
Mr. Kakkar said the victim had been maintaining that she was raped and because of the language problem she could not communicate it to the police initially. “The argument given by the defence that the girl had gone on her own will with the boys fell flat. The girl had sustained 26 injuries, which was unexplainable in case the whole thing was with her consent,” Mr. Kakkar said.
Implementing provisions of CrPC and Evidence Act, the victim’s statement was recorded under in-camera proceedings wherein media, police and other litigants were barred entry inside the courtroom.
Charges against the five accused were framed on December 22 after which the case was adjourned for January 16. The prosecution had zeroed in on 16 witnesses in the case.
The police had submitted a 300-page charge sheet aiming that the trial proceeds at a fast pace during the hearing that was fixed on January 16-17.
A report of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory here submitted to the police a month after the crime had established rape. The report had said that blood stains, hair strands, cigarette butts, semen swabs and condom samples recovered from the vehicle used for abducting the woman were that of the accused.
The German woman came to Chandigarh on September 23 to attend her friend’s wedding. PTI

Bail petitions of Rajus dismissed
M. Rajeev
Defence counsel to explore other options
Order on the bail petition of Gopalakrishnam Raju reserved
SEBI files plea in HC for permission to record statements
HYDERABAD: The bail applications of the former Satyam chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother B. Rama Raju and ex-chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani were dismissed by a city court on Wednesday.
‘Causing evidence to disappear’
The prosecution, represented by K. Ajay Kumar, opposed the bail on the ground that the accused were causing disappearance of evidence even while in jail. There was a possibility of their tampering with evidence, besides causing disappearance of other suspects vital to investigation.
Defence counsel S. Bharat Kumar later said they would explore other options to secure bail. They would either renew the petition in the same court or approach the next higher court to secure the release of the Raju brothers, in custody since January 9.
The Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate D. Ramakrishna, however, reserved for Thursday his order on the bail petition of another accused, D. Gopalakrishnam Raju, general manager of SRSR Advisory Services. The bail applications of Price Waterhouse partners S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri will also be taken up the same day.
‘Hand in glove’
Earlier, the court heard the arguments on the bail petition of Mr. Gopalakrishnam Raju. The prosecution urged the court to extend his custody claiming that only custodial investigation would help to ferret out facts of the self-confessed offence of pocketing the “sweat and blood” of lakhs of investors.
It said the accused had been associated with Satyam since 1984 and “hand in glove” with Mr. Ramalinga Raju. This was evident from the fact that the land assets of the former Satyam chairman were in his custody.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) filed a petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking permission to record the statements of the Raju brothers.
The SEBI urged the court to declare the magistrate’s order dismissing its application to record the statements as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
In the absence of permission to record their statements, the SEBI would be severely handicapped in investigating violations committed by the brothers, who were in judicial custody and beyond its reach.
Observations contested
The market regulator contested the magistrate’s observations about the SEBI’s role as an investigating agency. It claimed it had powers equivalent to that of a civil court and the magistrate had wide powers “to authorise even the detention of the accused in such custody as he thinks fit,” the petition said.

Petition seeks provision for negative voting
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court is hearing a petition seeking a direction to the Centre and the Election Commission to have a provision for “negative” voting in the Representation of the People Act, giving the voter the right to register his “rejection” of the candidates.
A Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G. S. Singhvi on Wednesday heard arguments from senior counsel Rajinder Sachar for the petitioner, People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), for such a direction and Additional Solicitor-General Amarendra Saran, appearing for the Centre, strongly opposing it. Counsel for the Election Commission will make her submission on Thursday.
Mr. Sachar pointed out that under Rule 49 O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, a voter who wanted to exercise the right not to vote had to inform the returning officer, who would register his name and address in an election book, thus violating the code of secret ballot.
He said the Commission should make a specific provision in the EVM to enable the voter to choose ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option.
The Rule says: “Elector deciding not to vote. — If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form 17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.”
Mr. Sachar argued that the rule is ultra vires the Constitution and violated Article 19 1 (a) on freedom of speech and expression. He said Article 324 gave ample power to the Election Commission to fill the lacuna.
Mr. Saran argued that the expression ‘voting’ would not include abstaining from voting or non-voting. There was no need to maintain secrecy in the case of abstaining from voting or non-voting under Section 128 of the RP Act and Rule 49 O was intra vires the Constitution.
In its response, the Centre said “the suggestion of a negative or ‘NOTA’ vote does make a lot of sense intellectually and as a matter of principle. It may, however, not at all be a practicable proposition as it is negative in character.”
Arguments will continue on Thursday.

Court rejects review plea against Husain
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to review its order declining to initiate criminal proceedings against noted painter M.F. Husain for allegedly hurting public sentiments through some of his paintings, including the one on ‘Bharat Mata,’ that were termed obscene.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal dismissed the review petition filed by Maharashtra-based Dwaipayan Venkateshacharya Varkhedkar against the dismissal of his special leave petition on September 8, 2008.
The Bench said there was no merit in the petition.
The petitioner had challenged a Delhi High Court verdict quashing the criminal proceedings initiated against Mr. Husain in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The paintings, allegedly depicting Bharat Mata and Hindu gods and goddesses in an obscene manner, had created a furore and he received threats from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. As a result, the painter is living in a self-imposed exile in Dubai.
The proceedings against the painter were initiated on the basis of complaints filed in Panderpur (Maharashtra), Rajkot (Gujarat) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh).

“Comply with laws before focussing on corporate social responsibility”
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a useful paradigm for social development, but corporates would do better to first concentrate on complying with their legal requirements as business entities, T. V. Somanathan, secretary to the Chief Minister (Monitoring), said on Wednesday.
At a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on ‘Understanding CSR in its totality,’ Nachiket Mor, president, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth, presented different perspectives on CSR. He argued that altruistic CSR was actually bad corporate governance, as companies were only shells created by individuals for a specific purpose.
Value creation
Instead, a more robust use of CSR would involve companies taking a long-term perspective of their strengths and looking at value creation, instead of profit maximisation, as their goal. This would tie their business strategy and social strategy together, resulting in social development along with corporate growth.
However, Dr. Somanathan said that any CSR activity aimed at benefiting the company in the long term was not necessary.
“The business of business is business,” he said. The government could take care of social development.
The social laws in India were well ahead of their practice, and social development goals could be achieved by strictly adhering to them. The first duty of companies would be to follow all the laws in letter and spirit before embarking on CSR ventures. While discharging their functions as corporate entities, companies were already benefiting society, and if they decided to do more, it would be welcome, he said.
He said companies could not trade off incentives from the government to fund such activities. But, this was more of a governance issue. While companies wanted to maximise stakeholder returns and could demand concessions and try to subvert market forces, it was the government’s duty to understand which incentives were necessary.
Earlier, Manikam Ramaswami, chairman, CII-Tamil Nadu State Council, said that the CII was looking forward to participating closely with the government in various social ventures including skill development and public health.

High Court security arrangements
CHENNAI: New security arrangements came into effect at the High Court on Wednesday. Entry into the court premises, which also houses the Sessions Courts, is being regulated. Two out of the 10 gates on the campus have been closed permanently. Police personnel have been posted at the gates to check entry.
A court official said that identity cards had been issued to all staff members. — Special Correspondent

High Court criticises Sivaganga Municipality
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here criticised the Sivaganga Municipality for cancelling the licences granted to two individuals for collecting fee at a daily market even as a lower court was seized of the matter.
Dismissing the civil revision petitions filed by the President and Commissioner of the local body, Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar said: “The action of the Municipality… is an act of interference in the administration of justice.” The Judge refused to accept the officials’ contention that the licences were cancelled on November 10 because the District Munsif Court had not passed any interim orders in the civil suits filed by the licensees on October 17.
Admittedly, notices issued by the lower court in the interlocutory petitions were served on the Municipality on October 20. Thereafter, the petitions came up for hearing on October 23 and the Commissioner sought time to file his reply.
“Without filing counter affidavits… the Municipality cancelled the licences. It has to be treated as overstepping to frustrate the court proceedings and non-suit the respondents who are the plaintiffs in the original suits,” the judge said.
“The action of the Municipality cannot be condoned and if such kind of over reaching the court proceedings are allowed, the litigants may tend to ignore the court proceedings and act according to their whims and fancies,” the Judge added. Further, pointing out that all documents, relied on by the revision petitioners to cancel the licences, were dated after the filing of the suit, he said that the materials were of no significance as per a 2002 Supreme Court judgement.
Alternative remedy
The Judge also said that the Municipality ought not to have filed the present revision petitions against the interim injunction granted by the Munsif on November 26 because there was an alternative remedy of filing appeals before the District Court.

Marad case: juvenile board to summon 14
Staff Reporter
Testimonies to be taken on February 2, 9
Seven persons to be summoned to identify materials
All the prosecution witnesses to be examined
Kozhikode: The Kozhikode Juvenile Justice Board has decided to issue summons to 14 persons for collecting their statements in connection with the trial of five juveniles charge-sheeted for the killing of nine fishermen at Marad seaside village on May 2, 2003. Their testimonies will be taken on February 2 and 9.
At its sitting here on Wednesday, the board comprising Kozhikode Chief Judicial Magistrate K.V. Gopikuttan, and assisted by members Nazir Chaliyam and K. Shiny decided to re-summon seven persons to identify the material objects (swords) in connection with the trial. The fresh list of witnesses include K. Shyamala, an eye-witness, who said she saw the juveniles carrying the swords at Marad and K. Subramaniyan, who made swords for the assailants.
The Special Additional District Sessions Court (Marad cases) had earlier acquitted Subramaniyan, a blacksmith from Malappuram district, who turned approver in the case. But the court had treated his evidence as “ tainted evidence.”
Testimonies of T.V. Kamalakshan, Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department; V. Devarajan, P.P. Unnkrishnan and P. Abdul Hameed, senior officers, who were part of the investigation team during the initial stages of the case, will also be taken.
Special prosecutor P.D. Ravi submitted the list before the board. All the prosecution witnessed will be examined on February 2 and February 9.
Earlier in June 2007, the board had suspended the proceedings in the trial after Mr. Ravi moved a petition stating that material objects (swords) were required to proceed further with the trial and examination of witnesses.
During the process of trial all materials were in the custody of the Special Court at Eranhipalam.
The Special Court had pronounced the judgment on January 15 sentencing 63 guilty in the case. It had also ordered that the material objects be transferred to the board.
The board obtained the material on January 16.
Several months ago, the High Court of Kerala had ordered that the materials should be transferred to the board only after the Special Court completed all proceedings in connection with the trial.
Nearly, 80 witnesses had been examined by the board so far in connection with the trial. The prosecution had submitted a list to examine 147 witnesses in the case. Among those who deposed included the former Kozhikode Collector T.O. Sooraj, the former Kozhikode Revenue Divisional Officer P. Balan, the former Kozhikode Tahsildar P. Koyakutty and the former Beypore village officer K.V. Sundaran Nair.
One of the juveniles charge-sheeted had fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Later, the board had directed the parents of an absconding juvenile, to produce their son before the board within 20 days. Since the parents failed to produce their son the surety amount was recovered from them.
Some police personnel attached to the Kozhikode Special Branch are also facing charges in connection with the juvenile securing a passport to flee to Saudi Arabia.

House panel seeks amendment to captive elephant management rules
Staff Reporter
Thrissur: The Subordinate Legislative Committee headed by Jose Thettayil, MLA, held a sitting at Thrissur Collectorate on Wednesday to evaluate the implementation of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 on the care and management of captive elephants. Forest officials, elephant owners, mahouts, and elephant lovers presented their views at the meeting.
The meeting urged the government to amend the Captive Elephant Management and Maintenance Rules without affecting the festival ceremonies. The elephant owners raised objection to the Forest Department’s order asking them to seek permission from district administration three days ahead of parading their elephants at festivals.
They also asked the government to make arrangements to provide sufficient supply of palm leaves for elephants.
The Elephant Owners’ Association suggested opening of diagnostic laboratories to detect the common diseases of elephants. The State did not even have x-ray facilities for elephants in case of injuries in accidents.
The association suggested framing guidelines for management of elephants by a group of veterinary doctors, researchers, elephant owners and traditional experts.
Mahouts who attended the hearing said that on some occasions while trying to restrict people from mounting the elephants they had to face physical assault from the public.
They urged the committee to have strict provisions to check untrained people from mounting the elephants.
Elephant Lovers’ Association asked the government to ensure that the elephant handlers strictly followed the rules and regulations.
The committee, which included MLAs Muraly Perunnelly, Simon Britto, V. Chentamarakshan, and Thomas Unniadan, also visited Anakotta (elephant yard) of the Guruvayur Devaswom.

Court orders probe into trafficking
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Crime Branch of Delhi Police to investigate alleged trafficking in minors by placement agencies in the Capital.
A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A.P. Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna passed the direction while hearing a PIL by a non-government organisation seeking a direction for prosecution of placement agencies guilty of the offence.
The Saraswati Vihar police had recently registered a case of breach of trust against some placement agencies for not paying wages to some minors who had got employment through them. The police had registered the case following rescue of these children from the custody of the placement agencies during raids at their offices. The Bench had last week given one week to the Delhi police to take effective steps in the matter. Earlier, North-West Deputy Commissioner of Police appeared before the Court and submitted a status report about the investigation conducted so far but the Court rejected it and handed over the investigation to the Crime Branch. The DCP in his report said the IO had recorded statements of the children before Metropolitan Magistrates and their only complaint was they had not been paid their wages.

‘Right to life means right to live with dignity’
Workshop on social and economic justice begins
People need to consciously exercise their human rights
Need for maximum public participation important: member
KORAPUT: ‘Right to life means the right to live with dignity’ Justice R. K. Patra, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission, Orissa, said at Koraput on Wednesday. He was attending the inaugural ceremony of the two-day long workshop to generate awareness on issues concerning social and economic justice to all citizens.
While there were many rules and laws framed and executed in the country to enable the people to enjoy the basic human rights it was needed for the people to become conscious in exercising their human rights. Keeping this in mind and to create widespread awareness on the subject the commission had come out with the initiative of organising sensitization workshop all across the state. The workshop at Koraput was the beginning, he added. Further, while highlighting the efforts of NGOs in spreading messages on different issues especially in the tribal dominated Koraput region, he requested them to take an active part in the mission to reach the grassroots with the message on human rights.
R.N.Bahidar, member of the commission, speaking to the participants however stressed on the need of maximum public participation for bringing out fruitful results to the efforts. While seeking the basic rights for the self, everyone should pay respect to the rights of others too, he added. Himadri Mahapatra, another member of the commission while describing the procedure to seek restoration of human rights from the commission, said that the commission was only a body to recommend the government to compensate the losses rather than forcing them to take action.
However till date the government had given due respect to the suggestions of the commission and many people have been granted compensation, he added.
Among others, leading advocates Sasananda Mishra, T.N.Murty and Nihar Ranjan Patnaik spoke. The workshop was attended by Padmanav Sethi, Additiona District Magistrate, Koraput along with many other district level officials and civil society members.

PWD engineer murder: HC rejects plea of BSP MLA’s wife, 2 others
28 Jan 2009, 1518 hrs IST, PTI
ALLAHABAD: Voicing “extreme disquiet” over “close nexus” between police and “criminalised politicians and their goons”, the Allahabad High Court has rejected petitions of the wife of BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari and two others seeking a stay on their arrests in connection with the murder of a PWD engineer. Rejecting the petitions on Tuesday, a division bench comprising justice Amar Saran and justice R N Misra observed that “at this stage the court cannot reach an inference that there is no prima facie material against the accused so as to justify quashing the FIR or the investigation or to stay the arrests of the petitioners”. The court, however, directed that “investigation and trial in this case be concluded within six months”. PWD engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta was beaten to death allegedly by the MLA and his supporters who had dragged him out of his house in the early hours of December 24, 2008. The court also remarked “we must record our extreme disquiet at a feature which has again been revealed in the case, viz, the close nexus of police officials with criminalised politicians and their goons”.

From Feb 14, three more daily Lok Adalats at HC
Express News Service
Posted: Jan 28, 2009 at 0510 hrs IST
Chandigarh With an aim to clear the increasing backlog of cases, six daily Lok Adalats will be made functional in the Punjab and Haryana High Court from February 14 onwards, said Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Tirath Singh Thakur while speaking to mediapersons recently on the eve of Republic Day.
This is double the number of Lok Adalats functioning in the court at present.
All the courts in the High Court have been directed to dispose of the cases or appeals pending prior to 1988 on priority, said the Chief Justice while adding that a blue print of Samadhan 2009 is being chalked out.
“We are trying to find out as to which category of cases were among the maximum solved during Samadhan 2008. A state-level conference with all the judges will be held in order to prepare the format of Samadhan 2009,” said Justice Thakur.
In Samadhan 2008, conducted in December last year, more than two lakh cases in all the districts of Punjab and Haryana were disposed of by the judges.
Justice Thakur added that court rooms for six session judges, whose names have been recommended for elevation to the post of High Court judges, are being constructed.
The Chief Justice also made it clear that no more names will be sent for elevation of posts till adequate infrastructure (court rooms) is made available for more High Court judges.
On the controversy of declaration of assets by judges, the Chief Justice said the Judiciary should be “forthcoming” towards the issue. He added that the declaration should be made when one is elevated to the position of a High Court judge.
He further said that Parliament should come out with a law if the issue assumes high significance.
Thakur also added that a decision has been taken to fill all the vacancies in the Fast Track Courts of Punjab and Haryana.
The Chief Justice said that all the district courts of Punjab and Haryana have been directed to make a list of 200 of the oldest cases pending in their respective courts.
All the courts in a district court will prepare the list and dispose of the oldest cases on priority basis, added Thakur.
CJI to lay foundation of court rooms, parkingChief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan will lay the foundation stone on February 14 for the sixteen court rooms to be constructed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He will also lay the foundation stone for the multi-level parking.

Residents in HC for stay on Port corridor
28 Jan 2009, 0540 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: A public interest writ petition seeking a stay on the implementation of the 1,468-crore elevated corridor project from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal, has been filed in the Madras High Court. Four Maduravoyal residents, who have already lost their lands to acquisition proceedings for the Koyambedu-Maduravoyal road expansion project, have moved the court now, stating that their lands have again been targeted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for acquisition. They contended that in August 2005, their lands were acquired for a road-widening scheme, to complement the Golden Quadrilateral project. “We received the amount and handed over the lands to the highway authorities, who had now taken possession of the land.” Again, in July 2008, the petitioners noticed certain paint marks on their walls, without information or intimation. Only then did they come to know that the lands had been identified for the proposed elevated corridor project, for which the prime minister laid the foundation earlier this month. Noting that they had just modified or built new structures on their lands, after a portion of the old buildings had been razed for the road expansion project, the residents sent representations to the highway authorities asking them to reconsider their decision to take over patta lands on which new residential buildings had been constructed. If the corridor is aligned along the banks of Cooum river there is no need to divest residents of their patta lands, they said, adding that the authorities too need not invest much on acquisition proceedings. Charging the authorities with ignoring the genuine grievances of the landowners, the petitioners said acquisition proceedings were going ahead mechanically. The matter, listed before the first bench for hearing, could not be taken up on Tuesday and it is expected to come up for hearing on Wednesday, said additional advocate-general P Wilson.

HC: Make arrangements before dumping
28 Jan 2009, 0402 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has directed the corporation of the city of Panaji (CCP) to refrain from dumping garbage at the Bainguinim site without making proper arrangements for its treatment and disposal. The court also directed the CCP to desist from operating the garbage disposal plant at the site without obtaining the relevant permissions from the Goa state pollution control board (GSPCB). A division bench comprising justice P B Majmudar and justice N A Britto passed the directions while hearing of a petition filed by Sunshine educational trust, which complained that the site is within 300 metres of the institute managed by them. Sunshine also alleged that in spite of the GSPCB not granting the CCP permissions, the corporation continued to dump garbage at the site without taking steps for its treatment. Sunshine’s advocate, Amey Kakodkar said that, “The site is in total contravention of the rules.” He told the court that garbage is being dumped at the site without arrangements made to treat it, posing a health hazard to the residents of the area. The court disposed of the petition, while directing the CCP to comply with the court’s earlier directives with regard to segregation and treatment of garbage.

Identify private forests, HC to FSI
28 Jan 2009, 0358 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has sought the assistance of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, for completing the identification and demarcation of private forests in the state, a process that was scheduled to restart in October, 2008. A division bench comprising justice P B Majmudar and justice N A Britto were hearing a petition filed by non government organisation Goa Foundation. The NGO had prayed for a direction to the government to complete the work of identification and demarcation of private forests in the state, which were identified by the Sawant and Karapurkar committee. When the matter came up for hearing, the petitioner’s advocate Norma Alvares moved an application proposing to the court that the FSI could help in expeditiously completing the balance work of identifying private forests in Goa. Advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that the FSI does satellite imagery of the ground and so it would not present a clear picture of which areas qualify as private forests. Subsequently the court issued notices to the FSI and posted the matter for hearing on February 17.

Muzaffar alias Patni case: HC tells foster, biological parents to cooperate…/415889/
Express News Service Posted: Jan 28, 2009 at 0049 hrs IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed the foster as well as the biological parents of Muzaffar alias Vivek Patni to cooperate with each other in the interest of the boy.
Justice D H Waghela said in his order that the boy be sent to his biological parents every Saturday evening and kept there till Sunday evening to help him acclimatise to the new environment.
Justice Waghela also reprimanded the foster mother for not sending the boy on two occasions to his biological parents since the court order on December 30, 2008. The court had directed to send the boy to his biological parents every Sunday, but the foster mother sent him only on two Sundays.
Today, Justice Waghela directed that the boy be sent to his biological parents once a week under any circumstance. The next hearing is scheduled on February 20.
Muzaffar was two-and-a-half years old when he went missing during the attack on Gulberg Society in 2002 where his parents had been living. He was found by a policeman, who handed him over to Vikram and Veena Patni, after his biological parents could not be traced immediately.
Six months ago, activists belonging to the Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ) traced the boy during reinvestigation of the case by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
A DNA test conducted at the SIT’s initiative confirmed that Salim Sheikh and his wife Zaibunnisa were the biological parents of the boy. But the Patnis refused to give up the boy when the Sheikhs made a claim. Armed with the DNA report, the Sheikhs then moved the court, seeking custody of the boy. But a magisterial court awarded Muzaffar’s custody to the Patnis after the boy expressed his wish to live with his foster parents.
The Sheikhs then moved the Gujarat High Court through legal help provided by the CPJ of Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad. As it was an emotional issue for both parties, Justice Waghela, before whom the matter came up for hearing, promoted interaction between the two families. He directed the two parties to help the boy become familiar with his biological parents before any final decision.
The boy is presently studying in Class III.

HC reserves order in DGP appointment case
28 Jan 2009, 0144 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday concluded the hearing in the case pertaining to the validity of A N Roy’s appointment as the director general of police (Maharashtra) last February. A bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Sharad Bobde declared the matter as “reserved for orders” after 18 hearings in the appeals filed by both Roy and the state against an October 2008 order passed by the central administrative tribunal which had quashed Roy’s appointment. S Chakravarty__the DGP who lost out to Roy as DGP (state), had challenged the appointment. The matter in the HC, both for and against, had crossed into the realm of serious interpretation of a landmark Supreme Court judgment passed in Prakash Singh’s case that governs such appointments across states. The HC’s judgment in the case could impact future appointments now as it is will interpret the SC judgment as well as the laws and rules which forms the basis of the appointment of the four DGPs in the state.

Tourist guides move HC for licence
28 Jan 2009, 0354 hrs IST, Abhinav Garg, TNN
NEW DELHI: At a time when the Capital is all set to roll for the Commonwealth Games, an association of tourist guides has approached the Delhi HC complaining that despite an acute shortage of guides, the government isn’t issuing them licences. Challenging the government’s recruitment process for intake of guides, the petitioner have also sought permission to carry on with their work as self employed tourist guides till a proper selection process is in place. Agra Tourist Guides Welfare Association an umbrella group of foreign language travel guides has moved HC against the tourism department and ASI, alleging gross mismanagement in the recruitment process and violation of HC guidelines on this issue. Justice Ravindra Bhatt on Tuesday sought a response from the government on the petition, filed by advocate Anjana Gosain on behalf of the guides. Drawing HC’s attention to know how the guides were being denied licences and being barred from working, the petitioners said an examination process initiated in 2007 for guides has suddenly been scrapped even though it was set in motion under HC orders. Moreover, even those who were selected under the half baked scheme have not begun their training yet, as they can’t work till they finish training under official auspices. “Out of 3,000 applicants, only 300 have been selected for the training. There cannot be any limit on the number of guides as tourism has grown by leaps and bounds. The scheme is not for recruitment but for self employment hence restriction on number ought to be lifted especially because the government doesn’t have to spend money on these candidates who have to generate work after clearing the examination,” Gosain argued. The petitioners allege that despite an earlier court order that those candidates who scored 40% be allowed to start working even though they get training, the government has debarred them.

HC blasts state for appointing cops as SEMs
29 Jan 2009, 0536 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas , TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently rapped the Maharashtra government for its decision to appoint police officers as special executive magistrates. Hearing a petition filed by a Pune resident, challenging proceedings initiated against him by the police, a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Anoop Mohta questioned the manner in which the authorities had acted in violation of rules. The court quashed the chapter proceedings against Anirudha Mirgunde as “arbitrary and without jurisdiction”. The court, before parting with the case, had some strong words for the police machinery and the state. “The magistrates, who have power in Maharashtra under chapter proceedings, are unfortunately police officers,” said the judges, adding: “When they exercise their powers, they forget that they are working as magistrates. This is a dichotomy which is seriously hampering the judicial system in the state.” “Time and again, we have expressed the desire that the government should reconsider the decision and the powers of the magistrates should not be in the hands of police officers. But, unfortunately, the government has not done anything so far,” said the judges. The CrPC says a chapter proceeding is a preventive law, where the police seek a bond of good behaviour from a citizen who they believe to be capable of causing public nuisance. The decision to seek a bond is made by the additional commissioner of police following a report sent by the local police station. In the present case, the police pasted a notice outside Mirgunde’s residence in Pune asking him to be present in the office of the deputy commissioner of police, who was also officiating as the special executive magistrate. Mirgunde’s lawyer contended that the chapter proceedings were initiated without following procedures. The court agreed the order was illegal.

Law tough on dealers and prosecution
29 Jan 2009, 0522 hrs IST, Kartikeya, TNN
MUMBAI: The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is often called a Draconian law on account of its severity: the minimum jail sentence for a first-time offender is 10 years in jail, and any subsequent conviction invites a mandatory death sentence. Legal experts, however, say that the very severity of the law means that judges demand foolproof evidence before they can hold an accused guilty. “Even the slightest glitch in the investigation can see a person walk free,” said a special prosecutor who has dealt with several narcotics cases. “After all, it is a question of depriving a man of at least 10 years of his freedom, and it is no surprise that courts want to be absolutely sure of the evidence.” NDPS is also different from other laws in the sense that it places the burden of proof on the accused to show how he came in possession of the contraband. “However, often witnesses turn hostile or minor discrepancies creep into the paperwork, which is filed by the officers. There have been instances in Mumbai where the cases came up for trial after several years and by then many of the witnesses were untraceable. These are all contributory factors to an acquittal,” the prosecutor said.

Cops challenge court report on encounter
29 Jan 2009, 0544 hrs IST, S Ahmed Ali , TNN
MUMBAI: The D N Nagar police, who were part of the team that shot dead Chhota Rajan aide, Ramnarayan Gupta in 2007, have challenged the chief metropolitan magistrate railway court’s report that the encounter was staged. Srikant Bhatt, defence lawyer for inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi, now a senior inspector at Andheri, cited two SC judgments, including that of the Javed Fawda encounter case, to strengthen their argument that the report of a magistrate could be challenged. Bhatt contended that the report of magistrate R K Shaikh, was faulty. The Bombay high court was hearing a writ petition filed by Gupta’s brother, Ramprasad Gupta, in which he had alleged that his brother was picked up from his residence at Navi Mumbai and killed in cold blood. In February 2007, the high court had directed a magistrate to probe the case. On Friday, the defence argued that the petition was not maintainable and hence there is no value for the inquiry report. Chief justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked the state why it had not registered an FIR against the policemen, despite the report of the magistrate. The defence asked for time to challenge the report. The matter will now be heard on February 9. The report prepared by Magistrate Shaikh, found that Gupta was shot dead in police custody. The encounter dates back to November 11, 2006 when the officers of D N Nagar police station shot dead Gupta near Nana Nani park in Andheri.

No one happy, legal action not ruled out
29 Jan 2009, 0210 hrs IST, Neha Pushkarna, TNN
NEW DELHI: Schools are angry, parents are disappointed. The fee hike decision hasn’t gone down well with anybody. While schools are adopting a tough posture by threatening to resort to legal action, parents are concerned about clearing the burden. Col Ramesh Laddha, director, Birla Vidya Niketan, Pushp Vihar, said: “We have to pay arrears of Rs 2.5-3 crore to teachers. However, we can now charge only 30%-40% of that amount from parents. We have no option but to take legal course.” The school currently charges tuition fee of Rs 1,660 and it can raise its fee by Rs 300. National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NPSC), a body of 110 schools in the city, also held meeting on Wednesday. “The general reaction from all schools was that the hike is not enough. We have decided to wait for the notification from the government after which all schools will meet. Legal option is always open,” said L V Sehgal, secretary, NPSC and principal, Bal Bharti School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg. Schools had earlier demanded a fee hike of 50% and arrears of about Rs 8,000 from the parents. “We will run into losses if this is the only hike allowed. This is specially unfair for smaller schools, which have been allowed even lesser hike. By doing this, government is forcing them to indulge in malpractice,” said D K Bedi, principal, Apeejay School, Pitampura, which charges Rs 1,800 as tuition fee and can increase it by Rs 300. RC Shekhar, director, Gyan Bharti School, Saket, charging Rs 1,600 as tuition fee, agreed. “We were in loss by keeping our fee lower. The slabs should have been inversely proportional. We will not be able to pay the increased salaries,” said Shekhar. However, schools like DPS and Tagore International are planning go ahead with the hike after informing the parents about it. Shyama Chona, principal, DPS RK Puram, said, “We will go by the government’s decision as we have to think of the parents’ budget also. We have no problem with the approved hike.” Madhulika Sen, principal, Tagore International, Vasant Vihar said, “We will be able to meet our fee bill. However, we may have to use our reserves to pay arrears. Once we get a direction from the government, we will inform the parents.” The school is expected to increase the fee by Rs 500 as its tuition fee is Rs 2,100 as of now. Francis Thomas, administrator, Ryan International also said that the school will consult the Parent Teachers’ Association before deciding on the hike but there would be a problem as the school had no reserves. Parents, however, are counting their options now. “I will have to pull out my children from the private school now. I was as it is struggling to make the ends meet to send my children to a good school. Recession has also cut down my income,” said Amit Agrawal, whose two children study in a south Delhi school. Another parent, Neelu Malhotra said: “Arrears for teachers should be a liability of the school. They already charge a lot of extra funds. Where do I get more money from. I can’t even augment the family income to pay the increased fees as there are no jobs.”

Judicial probe plea shot down
29 Jan 2009, 0211 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking judicial intervention in the DDA house allotment scam probe. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna dismissed the PIL which also sought a stay on the entire allotment process, alleging widespread misuse. HC was of the view that a police probe into the scheme and its system of allotment was already on so there was no need to intervene at this stage. The court asked the petitioner to approach it once the police investigations get over and if he wished to draw the court’s attention to some specific aspect of the case. In his PIL, the petitioner alleged that the police and DDA were both not competent enough to conduct a thorough impartial probe into the scam and demanded judicial scrutiny of the case. Seeking HC’s intervention, he argued that the entire allotment ought to be stayed till a judicial inquiry had unearthed all facts.

50-yr-old gets RI for rape, abduction
29 Jan 2009, 0202 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: A 50-year-old man was on Wednesday, sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment by a sessions court for kidnapping and raping a minor girl. Finding the offence “gruesome” and “abhorring”, the court held Manish Kumar guilty of rape, kidnapping and criminal intimidation under the IPC. “While keeping the girl confined in a room, on one hand, the accused was making her address him as `papa’ and introducing her as daughter and niece, on the other hand, he was sexually assaulting her,” additional sessions judge Pratibha Rani said. “How traumatic the experience could be for a little girl aged 12-13,” the court noted, while imposing a fine of Rs 11,000 on the accused, Manish Kumar, a resident of Amritsar. “The act of convict was gruesome and abhorring, leaving a permanent scar on the child, obstructing her growth as healthy human being and breeding a sense of shame and guilt throughout her life for something which she could not be blamed for,” the court observed in its judgement. The victim, who was taken to Faridabad by accused, was rescued on July 27, 2007 when she contacted her uncle two days after her father lodged a missing complaint with Patel Nagar police station in west Delhi. The girl had gone missing after she left home to fetch her younger brother from school. In her deposition, she said the accused took her to Faridabad and raped her. The accused who alleged implication and sought leniency, could not impress the court after the prosecutor informed that out of the five cases pending against him since 1992, four were related to sexual assault. “In this case, the fact that the accused appears to be habitual offender, casts a duty upon the court to award adequate sentence so that at the age of 50, it could have deterrent effect on him,” the court said.

NBWs out against Deepak aides who ‘funded’ fraud
29 Jan 2009, 0211 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Nearly a month after the alleged DDA housing scam came to light, the Delhi Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) issued non-bailable warrants against two people believed to have played the role of financiers. The NBWs were issued against Suresh Kumar Meena and Vijay Kumar, associates of arrested accused Deepak Kumar. Police said Suresh and Vijay provided the money required to submit 1,000 forms under the ST category and pumped in close to Rs 60 lakh in the operation. Suresh had invested nearly Rs 35 lakh which he procured after selling his flat in Rohini, while Vijay, also a property dealer, invested around Rs 25 lakh. “We have got NBWs issued against the accused, but efforts are still on to arrest them. In case they do not appear before court, we will take necessary action,” said additional CP (EOW) SBK Singh. Meanwhile, CFSL Hyderabad, from where the forensic report on the software used in the DDA housing draw was awaited, has asked for more details about the software. The police said they have seized the server and original copy of the software and was sending the same to the lab for final analysis. The Delhi Police was also scanning call details of 18 people, who were named by mastermind M L Gautam (64), a former DDA staffer now in custody. “We are scanning the call details of all these persons between September 1 and December 20 for more leads,” added another officer. The police also said the two accounts which belonged to Gautam had been frozen and there was around Rs 2 lakh in both the accounts. Raids were being conducted to apprehend the others named by Gautam, the officer said. Police have also received replies from several allottees who were sent questionnaires. Many sent their replies through post and some had even appeared for verification. Till now, six people have been arrested for their alled involvement in the scam. Meanwhile, chairman of All India Association of SC/ST, Uditraj, staged a protest at Jantar Mantar and called for a hungerstrike. Reiterating his demand for a probe against corrupt DDA officials, Uditraj said, “The authortiy should be dismantled and people from Delhi including SC/ST should be allowed to apply in the draw.”

Sebi seeks HC nod to quiz Raju bros
29 Jan 2009, 0204 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Sebi on Wednesday moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court with the plea to be permitted to interrogate former Satyam chief Ramalinga Raju and his brother Rama Raju. Solicitor
General Goolam E Vahanvati is expected to appear on behalf of the regulatory body. Sebi moved the High Court after its earlier petition in the Nampally court of sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate D Ramakrishna was rejected on grounds of maintainability. In its petition before the HC, Sebi contended that it has the power and obligation to interrogate the erring corporate officials. The writ petition is likely to come up for admission on Thursday. Even the question of the maintainability of the petition is likely to be argued.

HC orders CS to appear in court
29 Jan 2009, 0207 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: Justice Goda Raghuram of the AP High Court on Wednesday ordered the personal appearance of chief secretary P Ramakanth Reddy in the court on February 28 and purge himself of contempt allegations. Earlier, the court had impleaded the chief secretary as party to a writ petition complaining of large scale violations in the construction of Yogi Vemana University. K R Chandra Reddy, the petitioner, had alleged large-scale lapses leading to danger to public life. Admitting the petition, the high court had by an order dated February 25, 2008, directed the chief secretary to initiate a detailed inquiry into the circumstances of such illegal construction. The judge had also directed the chief secretary to initiate prosecution and necessary action against erring individuals responsible for the illegal constructions. The chief secretary was also required to submit the action taken report in his present application. The petitioner alleged that there was total violation of the court order. He complained that the chief secretary failed to initiate an inquiry much less prosecute the persons responsible.

A N Roy case: High Court reserves judgement
Published: January 27,2009

Mumbai , Jan 27 The Bombay High Court today reserved its judgement on petitions filed by State Director General of Police Anami Roy and the State government against CAT&aposs order setting aside Roy&aposs appointment to the top post.
The arguments concluded today — three months after Central Administrative Tribunal&aposs order — before division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Sharad Bobde.
Earlier, Suprakash Chakravarti, an IPS officer who is senior to Roy, had moved CAT alleging that Roy had superseded three IPS officers — Chakravarti himself, J D Virkar and S S Virk (former Punjab DGP).
The CAT, in its order, had said that as per the Supreme Court directives in the Prakashsingh case, the three senior most officers should have been considered for the DGP&aposs post since Roy did not figure in the top three.
CAT had also asked the State to find Roy&aposs replacement within a month, but the High Court later extended this period till further orders.
Source: PTI

City lawyer arrested in beautician murder case
29 Jan 2009, 0259 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Police on Wednesday arrested a 38-year-old lawyer in connection with the murder of Chitra, a beauty parlour owner, at her parlour in KK Nagar on October 10 last year. The police team nabbed the lawyer, Kotteswaran, from a village in Virudhungar. Police said the accused, a resident of Nungambakkam, had shifted his house to Shanthi Colony in Anna Nagar after the murder. When the police narrowed down on the two other accused, Ilango, Kotteeswaran’s nephew and a third-year law student and his accomplice Ravikumar, Kotteeswaran left for his in-laws’ place in Virudhunagar. Police said they cracked the murder case after stumbling upon three men accused in a chain-snatching case. Latha of Sridevi Kuppam had approached the KK Nagar police and complained that a five-member gang barged into her house and snatched a 12-sovereign gold chain from her. Following this, police nabbed Raja, Kumar and Arun Babu. Based on their confession, police arrested Ilango and Ravikumar, who later confessed that they were involved in Chitra’s murder. During interrogation, the accused revealed that Kotteeswaran was also involved in the murder. He had instructed the others to get the chain from Latha. It was also on Kotteswaran’s instruction that Ilango went to Chitra’s beauty parlour to get Rs 50,000. When Chitra refused to pay up, Ilango assaulted her with an iron rod and fled the scene. The murder came to light when the victim’s father, Ramasamy, came to the parlour to see his daughter. Preliminary inquiries revealed that Kotteeswaran has been in touch with Latha through a vendor in Burma Bazaar, where she frequented to purchase cosmetics. It was during one of his visits to Latha’s place that he instructed Ilango to collect the money from Chitra. Latha had overheard the conversation. Kotteeswaran was taken to the XXIII metropolitan magistrate court in Saidapet and remanded in judicial custody. He was later taken to Puzhal prison.

Security system debuts at HC
29 Jan 2009, 0327 hrs IST, A Subramani, TNN
CHENNAI: A credible security system made a quiet and incident-free debut at the Madras high court on Wednesday. Private vehicles, autorickshaws and call taxis were denied entry into the premises, and litigants not carrying the now-mandatory visitor’s pass were let off with a curt warning that such leniency would not be shown from Thursday onwards. Attributing the success of this round of access control measures to cooperation from lawyers, the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president R C Paul Kanagaraj said the system has brought more parking space for lawyers. “Over the years, the number of vehicle-owning advocates has increased on the campus, but the space remained the same. This is the best possible solution to the problem,” he said. Also, the security threat to vital installations, including courts, in the country too is high on the minds of advocates, Kanagaraj said. City commissioner of police K Radhakrishnan and the jurisdictional deputy commissioner of police Vijayanand Sinha were in the premises till afternoon to ensure the smooth enforcement of the new security protocol. High court police said 250 police personnel were on duty from 7 am to 7 pm and all entry points had door-frame metal detectors. As the Aavin gate has become the pedestrian-only gateway, every person was made to go through the metal detector and frisked by police constables. “We were surprised that advocates and litigants waited politely for their turns to gain entry,” said a registry official. The court’s security committee, headed by a senior judge, Justice D Murugesan, had worked out every detail to make it a fool-proof security system, he said.

HC upholds petrol pump fee increase
29 Jan 2009, 0330 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Thanks to an intervention of the Madras high court’s judgment on Wednesday, the Chennai Corporation is all set to receive an enhanced licence fee from petroleum and LPG dealers 49 years after the civic body took the decision. On March 24, 1960 the Chennai Municipal Corporation passed a resolution enhancing the annual licence fee for petrol bunks from Rs 300 to Rs 6,000. Fee for the attached service stations were raised from Rs 540 Rs 9,000. After keeping quiet for over 39 years, the dealers filed a writ petition, stating that the 20-time hike in the fee was unjustified and that the petroleum companies did not enhance their commission during the period. Admitting the plea in 1999, the High Court gave a conditional stay order, stating that the dealers shouold continue to pay the existing fee, but have to show bank guarantees for the differential sum. The dealers did not comply with the order. Justice K Chandru, lambasting the dealers for having moved the court after a lapse of 39 years, said they had not even bothered to comply with the High Court’s order. Instead they continued to remit their own rates depending upon the horse power of motors used in their outlets. Justice Chandru said the non-payment of licence fees for years could not have happened without the collusion of corporation officials, and added that but for an audit objection the issue of non-recovery of fees would not have come to light at all. He said the dealers could not claim it to be an excess levy even 49 years after the original resolution was passed. The judge also dismissed a similar petition filed by LPG dealers association challenging the rise of yearly licence fee from Rs 450 to Rs 2,000.

Central nod mandatory for Siddha institutes, says HC
29 Jan 2009, 0345 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Siddha medical institutions can be established only with the prior permission of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, and the Tamil Nadu government’s legislation paving the way for establishment of such colleges/courses with a mere state approval is unconstitutional, the Madras High Court has ruled. Justice K Chandru, passing orders on a batch of writ petitions against the Tamil Nadu Siddha System of Medicine (Development and Registration of Practitioners) Act 1997, said that clothing the state legislation the power to grant or withdraw approval for siddha institutes is illegal. The petitioners, who included the India Siddha Medical Association, said the Tamil Nadu government’s legislation empowering itself to grant or withdraw approval for establishing siddha institutes was in contravention of a piece of central legislation in the same field. If state governments are allowed to handle issues concerning approval of institutions, qualification of students and faculty, and award of diplomas or degrees, it would whittle down the standard of education. Justice Chandru, referring to the settled proposition of law that a central law would override a state legislation, said Tamil Nadu could not legislate in a field already occupied by a Central Act. He, however, brushed aside the petitioners’ opposition to the government’s move to establish a Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Council, including a provision for a state register containing the names of practitioners. It is for the development of siddha system of medicine and regulating the practitioners of the system in Tamil Nadu.

Arrest warrant against Medha Patkar
28 Jan 2009, 2016 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: An arrest warrant was issued against activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar in a defamation case by a local court. The bailable warrant was issued by the Metropolitan Magistrate R G Chaudhary on Tuesday after Patkar failed to appear before the court despite being summoned four times. The case was filed by the President of National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), V K Saxena, alleging that Patkar had in a television interview in 2006 claimed that the former was “getting civil contracts from the Sardar Sarovar Namada Nigal Limited (SSNNL)”. The court ordered the police to investigate the matter and submit a detailed report to it. The report was submitted in July 2007 following which Patkar was summoned to appear before the court.

Court seeks report on dialysis facilities in Delhi hospitals
Jan 28th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to file a detailed status report on the lack of facilities, especially for dialysis, in government-run hospitals.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna expressed surprise when the MCD informed the court it had three machines for dialysis and the Delhi government admitted that it has 11 machines for the same purpose. The bench then asked them to file a detailed action-taken report within a week.
Expressing surprise over the lack of medical facilities, the court asked the Delhi government what steps it has taken so far to treat the rising number of kidney patients in the capital.
The government counsel submitted that it has passed a proposal for increasing the number of machines in the government hospitals in the capital.
“The matter is of serious concern. Lakhs of kidney patients visit the capital every year and you have only these many machines to treat them,” said the court.
The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by Salekh Chand Jain through his counsel Sugreev Dubey seeking direction to authorities to ensure availability of dialysis facilities.
The petitioner alleged kidney patients in some areas of the city were not able get proper treatment due to the lack of medical equipments, including machines for dialysis, and the government had failed to take steps to provide adequate facilities.
He contended that in some hospitals the dialysis machines were lying unused. There was no mechanism to improve their condition. As a result, poor patients were forced to go to expensive private hospitals.
“At the moment the LNJP and GTB Hospitals have dialysis machines. While the LNJP hospital has seven machines, GTB has only four and surprisingly, in west Delhi, there is not a single government hospital which provides this facility,” says the petition.

Court directs Pepsi to compensate for condom in bottle

Noting that ‘legal remedies are going beyond the reach of the common man’, a consumer court here has asked soft drink giant Pepsi to pay Rs.23,000 as compensation to a man who suffered health problems after consuming a bottle of adulterated beverage produced by the company.
Hearing a plea by Pepsi earlier this month, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor said: ‘Legal remedies are going beyond the reach of even middle class, what to talk of the common man. Therefore, service providers and traders should be ready to shell out some amount for the agony and torture suffered by the consumer in seeking redressal of grievance.’
In 2003, Sudesh Sharma, a resident of Ujhani village in the national capital, had purchased two bottles of Pepsi from a retail shop near Kashmiri Gate.
Sharma started suffering from severe dyspepsia and headache followed by insomnia after drinking from one of the bottles. His condition worsened over a period of time and he had to seek medical help.
On inspecting the bottle from which he had drunk, Sharma found dirt and other contaminants inside it. He was also shocked to find a condom inside the other Pepsi bottle, which was still sealed.
Sharma approached the District Consumer Forum, which ordered Pepsi to pay him Rs.23,000 along with punitive damages of Rs.100,000 in 2006.
Staunchly denying any negligence on its part, Pepsi challenged the District Consumer Forum order in the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
Maintaining that the bottles may have contained spurious products illegally marketed under its brand name, Pepsi argued that Sharma had not submitted any proof of purchase of the bottles.
However, the commission observed that it was not a practice among shopkeepers in the open market to issue a receipt or cash memo whenever a person purchased one or two bottles.
‘We have come across a few cases of identical nature wherein similar pleas are being raised by the manufacturers. In our view, howsoever foolproof may be the manufacturing process, if the end product is found to contain any foreign substance or such material that renders the drink or eatable unfit for human consumption, the inference of the goods being defective have to be necessarily drawn against the manufacturer whose name is printed on the packaged product,’ Kapoor said.
The commission ordered Pepsi to pay Sharma Rs.23,000 but gave the company some relief by setting aside the punitive damages of Rs.100,000.
‘So far as compensation to a consumer is concerned, it should also be kept in mind that the consumer has been forced by the service provider to approach a legal forum to seek redressal of his grievance. It is a tortuous process as it causes mental agony, harassment and financial pressure as legal remedy is becoming costlier by the day and it is time consuming,’ Kapoor observed.
– By Kanu Sarda

HC restrains PCL
29 Jan 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: A division bench of the high court comprising Justices UK Dhaon and Satish Chandra in a writ petition no. 146 (S/B) 2009 passed an order on Wednesday for listing the petition along with the writ petition no. 62 (S/B) of 2009 as the petitioners are also entitled for the interim order passed by this court in WP No. 62 of 2009. The court further ordered that till the next date of listing, the opposite party – UP Power Corporation Limited – would not make promotions on the basis of the final seniority list issued on January 25, 2009. The court, however, allowed the UPPCL to update the seniority list of the years 2000-2008 in accordance with law. It may be mentioned that the high court on January 22, 2009 had passed an interim order in WP No. 62 of 2009 staying the consequential seniority list of executive engineers issued by UPPCL. The petitioner through another writ petition No. 146 of 2009 had challenged the list of order of seniority of superintending engineers, chief engineer level-2 and chief engineer level-1.

Journalist’s wife moves Habeas Corpus writ petition
Published: January 28,2009

Bangalore , Jan 28 A division bench of Karnataka High Court today directed the government advocate to take notice on a habeas corpus writ petition submitted by the wife of Editor of eveninger” Karavali Ale”, B V Seetharam, who has been arrested in connection with a defamation case.
Rohini, wife of Seetharam, Editor of the Kannada eveninger has submitted that the detention of her husband was unlawful and violative of his fundamental rights and also sought a direction to the authorities to set him free.
Seetharam was arrested in Udupi on January 4 in connection with a defamation case.
Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice A N Venugopal Gowda, constituting a division bench, directed the Government Advocate to take notice and file a report.
The bench adjourned the petition for further hearing to February 2.
Source: PTI

SEBI files writ against local court order
Published: January 29,2009

The SEBI today filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court questioning the validity of the orders passed by a local court rejecting their request to record the statement of B Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computers.
The 6th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had rejected SEBI’s request on the ground of lack of proper authorisation. The case will come up for hearing before the High Court today.
Source: PTI

Interfering in the ‘Security of the State’
January 28, 2009 by Aditya
Soli Sorabjee’s writ petition in the Supreme Court asking it to order the government to take measures to effectively deal with terrorism has created quite an interest amongst legal circles. Law and Other Things has detailed posts on it and Abhinav Chandrachud gives and interesting analysis on the ‘Right against Terror’ here.
I also have written here that the petition rests on the rationale that there is a Constitutional duty of the State to protect its citizens under Article 21; where as the Court earlier hasn’t stated any such duty.
In this post, I would like to explore another dimension to this writ. If the contentions in the writ be accepted then it is my opinion that it would have serious consequences on the way the government is run under the Constitution. My argument is that while judicial interference in legislative and executive functions already takes place, doing so in matters of policy and security of the State is warranted neither by the Constitution nor Constitutional law and doing so would belittle the idea of constitutional supremacy.
A reading of Article 355 would allow us to infer that it is the foremost duty of the central government to defend the borders of the Country. This also includes a duty to prevent any internal disturbance and maintain law and order. However, in as early as 1959, the Supreme Court in Memon Haji Ismail’s case held that declarations of war & matters concerning the defence of India are instances on which a Court cannot form any judgment. ‘defence of India’ could include both external aggression and internal disturbance. It could also be that they are to be considered as matters of policy and the Court cannot in any way tell the centre as to how the Government should be run.
Having established that the defence of the Country is exclusively in the realm of the Central Government, in State of Rajasthan v. Union of India, the Court held that it cannot assume unto itself powers the Constitution lodges elsewhere or undertake tasks entrusted to the Constitution to other departments of the State which may be better equipped to perform them.
“Questions of political wisdom or executive policy only could not be subject to judicial control. So long as such policy operates in its own sphere, its operations are immune from judicial process.”
Thus, asking the Centre by a writ to better equip the police and forces with the latest weapons would be interfering into a realm exclusive to the executive.
But in my opinion, the starkest revelation to the dangers of what may happen have been put forth by Justice BN Shrikrishna’s article titled ‘Skinning the Cat’ (2005) 8 SCC (jour) 3 where in he says;
“I wish to point to a recent and disturbing trend of using the judiciary to second guess unambiguously legislative and executive powers. Indeed, our judges have succumbed to the temptation to interfere even with well- recognized executive powers such as treaty making and foreign relations. …
One Shudders to think whither this trend could lead- whether, for example, the constitutionality of a declaration of war or peace treaty (or matter concerning the defence of the Country) could also be questioned in a Court of law? If the courts were to strike down the peace treaty as being unconstitutional, would the armed forces be compelled to pursue the war under judicial mandamus?
Indeed my mind boggles at such eventualities, however improbable they may appear, given the new found enthusiasm for judicial activism in areas that are inarguable no pasaran (they shall not pass) for the judges”
Perhaps Justice Shrikrishna’s fears may just come true with this case.
Sarabnanda Sonowal v. Union of India, (2005) 5 SCC 665.
(1977) 3 SCC 592

Consider resident’s pleas while aquiring land, HC tells NHAI
29 Jan 2009, 0329 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: Choosing not to interfere with the Rs 1,600-crore Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated corridor project, the Madras high court has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to consider the pleas of residents who would lose their lands to their project. Justice K Suguna disposing of a writ petition filed by project-affected people on Wednesday, said additional advocate-general P Wilson had informed the court that the question of considering the representation of the residents did not arise at all, as the matter was yet to be notified formally. She said the foundation stone laying ceremony was the proof for the project, and added that the authorities had conducted the function without even complying with mandatory formalities. The representations of the residents should be disposed of within a week, the judge added. The petition contended that many Maduravoyal residents had already lost their lands to acquisition proceedings for the Koyambedu-Maduravoyal road expansion project. Their lands were acquired in August 2005, and they received the compensation amount before handing over lands to the authorities. In July 2008, the residents noticed paint marks on their walls and realised that the lands had again been earmarked for acquisition, this time for the ambitious port connectivity project. Noting that they had just modified or built anew after the first acquisition proceedings, they said that if the proposed project was aligned with the banks of Cooum river, it would reduce acquisition costs as well as inconvenience to residents.

HC frowns over prolonged delay in Bar case
29 Jan 2009, 0226 hrs IST, Saeed Khan, TNN
Ahmedabad : This is a case where it is not the litigant who is shouting Tarikh pe tarikh, tarikh pe tarikh’ on repeated adjournment as Sunny Deol does in a famous court scene in the Bollywood film Damini’. Here, aggrieved party is Gujarat High Court, which has been expressing its reservations over seeking adjournments for last decade. And the litigants, here are the esteemed bar. A Bar association from Palanpur had filed this petition against High Court after a separate joint district court was created in Banaskantha district for Deesa block. Lawyers in Palanpur had a problem against this extension of court and case has already been adjourned 106 times. Palanpur Bar Association in 1999 approached High Court challenging establishment of a court in Deesa and claimed that this is in violation of Bombay civil Act. High Court admitted petition soon, but since last 10 years, the lawyers hit a century of adjournments. In the very next year of filing petition, the Bar began seeking adjournments. This led the court to criticise the concerned advocate’s practice of remaining absent by observing, “Looking to nature of the reason which is submitted before us, it is but natural that he was aware about the reason that he would not be in a position to remain present before court during this hearing, and therefore, he should have taken appropriate date on that date. We depreciate this method of seeking adjournment.” In 2006, a division bench dismissed the petition as Bar’s advocates didn’t prosecute the case and kept seeking adjournments. In May 2007, court warned Bar that it would not grant any more adjournment, since it was already 85th adjournment. Meanwhile, Bar association’s counsel Tushar Mehta left the case, as he was appointed as additional advocate general last year. And another advocate Avani Mehta moves in. In last November, counsel appearing for High Court reminded it about an application moved by Deesa Bar Association in 2000 seeking permission to join as a party in this case. On Wednesday, the case was kept for final hearing, but adjourned again for some other day. Next time when the case comes up on board, it will be 107th adjournment.

HC rally ban: Govt gets a week to reply
29 Jan 2009, 0250 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Wednesday gave an ultimatum to the state government for failing to file affidavit-in opposition on the complaint of flouting a court order during a DYFI rally on December 20, 2008. The court gave the government one-week time to reply to the complaints made by environmentalist Subhas Datta. On December 22, 2008, Datta told court that DYFI had violated the court order while holding a rally at the Maidan on December 20. Furnishing a number of photographs, Datta submitted that the entire Maidan had been converted into a picnic spot where food was cooked and served by the DYFI supporters using open ovens. Incidentally, the high court had banned the use of open ovens on May 8, 2008, within a three-kilometre radius of Victoria Memorial. The division Bench of Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice R N Banerjee observed that it was the last chance failing which the court will presume that the state had nothing to say on the allegations. On Wednesday, counsel for the state, Tulsidas Maity, expressed his inability to file an affidavit-in-opposition because his client had not contacted him further on the issue. Asked whether he had informed the government about the court order, Maity said the state’s representative was present in court when the order was passed.

NCB men not joining inquiry: UT SSP tells HC
29 Jan 2009, 0327 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: UT SSP Sudhanshu Shekhar Srivastava has filed an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on behalf of Chandigarh administration and police department, mentioning steps taken to curb drug mafia-cop nexus as alleged in a public interest litigation by Hemant Goswami of Burning Brain Society. The affidavit, dated January 25, was taken on record on Wednesday by the division bench of chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice Hemant Gupta. The most significant aspect of the affidavit was regarding two Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) inspectors – Ganesh Balooni and Raminder Singh Sethi – who, the SSP disclosed, had failed to join inquiry till date despite summons being served through their senior officers. The affidavit also revealed that as many as 123 NDPS cases had been registered at various UT police stations from January 1 to November 30, 2008. Also, as many as 131 persons had been arrested for various narcotics-linked offences. It also contained details about nature and quantity of drugs seized during the period. The SSP asserted in his affidavit that a disciplinary inquiry was underway against sub-inspector (SI) Harinder Singh Sekhon, and head constables (HCs) Sukhjinder Singh, Bachhitar Singh, Baljit Singh, Mohan Singh and Kuldeep Singh for their alleged links with known drug peddlers like Harpal Singh Raju and Suresh Kumar and for ‘’facilitating them in their business by taking money from them as established prima facie in a preliminary inquiry report, dated October 7, 2008, by DSP (traffic)’’. The SSP also stated that the said officials were under suspension. Also, another disciplinary probe was on against inspector Rajesh Shukla, HC Sanjeev Kumar and Constables Kuldeep Singh and Sewa Singh on basis of a preliminary report by DSP (lines) dated October 8, 2008. The SSP also disclosed that a special task force, headed by ASP Madhur Verma, had been constituted to tackle the drug menace in the city. Also, a special helpline number – 9915973100 – had been set up for the public to provide information regarding drug peddlers and abusers. It may be recalled that on July 25, HC had issued a notice to the Union home ministry, NCB, Central Bureau of Investigation, Chandigarh administration and UT police on Goswami’s plea.

Shut down units if they are polluting Buddha Nallah: HC
Express News Service Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 0357 hrs IST
Chandigarh: Pollution control board hauled up for not taking action against erring industries
SHUT down units if they are not adhering to the norms,” Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Tirath Singh Thakur today made it clear to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). The observation was made in the wake of an ongoing PIL demanding cleaning of the Buddha Nallah in the city.
The Chief Justice took a strong exception to the fact that despite norms laid down by the P Ram Committee, dyeing units were reportedly discharging effluents in the Buddha Nallah. The Chief Justice questioned the PPCB as to why these industrial units are not being shut down. “What is the impediment? If you find something wrong, what stops you from closing these units? Have you told any unit to shut down which is not adhering to the norms?” the Chief Justice asked the senior standing counsel of PPCB, Advocate A R Takkar.
The court observed that rather than going into the finer details, it wanted Punjab Chief Secretary to look into the matter. On the other hand, law officer for Punjab Government sought a week’s time for filing the status report. The court made it clear that if the court finds that the Chief Secretary has not done anything wrong, then the court will take appropriate action. “If we find that he has not done anything wrong, then we will do something about it,” the Chief Justice observed. The Chief Secretary has been given a week’s time to file the status report with regard to the drain.
Advocate Takkar, who is also the counsel for the P Ram Committee, requested the court to monitor the case. He submitted that if the Buddha Nallah is to be saved, then zero-liquid discharge is the only solution. “Zero-liquid discharge is the only solution. The court has already ordered that no treated or untreated water should be discharged into the nallah. Neither Buddha Nallah nor the Satluj have enough water to take on heavy load of pollutants. Nothing can be added into the Buddha Nallah,” said Advocate Takkar.
Earlier, the Court took the dyeing units to task for taking the plea that they were discharging liquid into the nallah since all the other industrial units were doing so. “Do you have any fundamental right to pollute the nallah and make the lives of people miserable?” asked the Chief Justice.
Meanwhile, in a scathing report submitted by the Citizens Council, Ludhiana, the NGO has strongly disapproved the functioning of Punjab government and the interference of politicians. The NGO has stated that whenever the Punjab Pollution Control Board orders for disconnection of electricity of the offending units, politicians don’t let it happen by directing the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) not to terminate the electricity connection. The NGO has highlighted the pitiable condition of people who are left at the mercy of politicians and insensitive government.

HC issues notice to Jaisu
29 Jan 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday issued a notice to Jaisu Shipping Company Pvt Ltd after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by residents of Candolim for removing the MV River Princess, grounded off the Candolim beach for the last 8 years. At the same time, the court also instructed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to apply to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bombay at Goa for transfering to the Division Bench a related arbitration appeal, pending before the single judge. The Division Bench comprising Justice P B Majmudar and Justice N A Britto were hearing a PIL filed by the locals of Candolim under the banner of the River Princess Hatao Manch. The Manch prayed that the grounded vessel be immediately towed away as it adversely affected the fragile ecosystem of the Sinqueirm beach besides being an eyesore for tourists. During the hearing, the court observed that the “problem of the grounded vessel is a grave one” and inquired from the advocate general of the state (AG) Subodh Kantak why the state is unable to remove the vessel even after 8 long years. The AG replied that the state government had tendered the work for removal of the vessel, but all its attempts have been futile because the contractors defaulted in complying with the terms of the contract. The AG also informed the court that Jaisu Shipping Co Pvt Ltd, which was awarded the last contract to tow away the vessel had defaulted and therefore the government had forfeited the bank guarantee of Rs 5.5 crore. Subsequently, the Bench instructed the petitioners to serve the notice upon Jaisu by February 5 so as to prevent further delay in the matter, while adjourning the hearing to February 9.

‘Hardline’ Crime Branch men can’t handle sensitive cases, HC told
Krishnadas Rajagopal
Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 0012 hrs IST
New Delhi The Delhi Police describes its ace Crime Branch officers as “hardliners”, who are unable to deal with women’s issues.
The revelation came from senior Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta, who blamed the gruff nature of the Crime Branch officers to their professional hazard of having to largely deal with “gangsters and kidnappers”.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) Karnal Singh was in court on Wednesday when Gupta made the comments.
Chief Justice A P Shah, however, ruled that the Crime Branch should be asked to investigate allegations of child-trafficking and exploitation of 35 girls and four boys. The youths, most of them minors, were rescued from various placement agencies on January 13 by teams from the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and an NGO.
In an attempt to dissuade the court from ordering the investigations to be given to the Crime Branch, Gupta said, “Crime Branch officers are hardliners. (They) get to deal with only gangsters and kidnappers (and) may not be the right department to handle this sensitive investigation, which has to deal with women’s issues.”
What also comes as a handicap, the counsel argued, is there are “very little or almost no women police officers in Crime Branch to interact with the rescued girls in a friendly manner”. But the court ordered, “The JCP (Crime Branch) will draw women officers from the Crime against Women Cell.”
The court insisted on a Crime Branch probe after it found, during hearing, that the girls had accused their placement agents of various criminal offences like “forced labour, illegal confinement and beating” to a two-member team of advocate Sunita Tiwari and DCW representative Reny Jacob on January 24. But the same girls opted to remain quiet merely three days later when they were brought by the police to record their sworn statements before four different magistrate courts.
“It is strange that these girls had nothing to say before the magistrates, when they had opened up in front of the team of experts,” the Bench observed. “Their (stands) are diametrically opposite in both instances… have they been tutored by police officers?”
The Bench also criticised the “mechanical” way in which the magistrates had recorded their statements without lending a thought to why the girls had changed their version so abruptly. “Either the police or the court has not applied their minds to the plight of these girls,” it said.
The girls are presently housed at Nirmal Chayya, a home run by the Social Welfare Department.

HC asks police to file affidavit on DYFI rally within 7 days…/416454/
Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 0313 hrs IST
Related Stories:
Expressing displeasure on the failure of the Kolkata police in filing an affidavit on the Brigade Parade Ground rally organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) on December 20, 2008, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday asked it to do so within seven days. The case will again come up for hearing on February 9.
On December 22, environmentalist Subhas Dutta had told the High Court that the organisers of the rally had openly flouted an HC directive, which bans open ovens on the ground.
Dutta said the DYFI rally was like a picnic, during which, participants dug up the ground for setting up ovens and filled it up after the rally. The High Court had asked the police to file an affidavit on the steps it has taken to comply with its earlier order on holding rallies on the ground, but the police failed to file it in due time.

HC issues notice to Jaisu
29 Jan 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday issued a notice to Jaisu Shipping Company Pvt Ltd after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by residents of Candolim for removing the MV River Princess, grounded off the Candolim beach for the last 8 years. At the same time, the court also instructed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to apply to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bombay at Goa for transfering to the Division Bench a related arbitration appeal, pending before the single judge. The Division Bench comprising Justice P B Majmudar and Justice N A Britto were hearing a PIL filed by the locals of Candolim under the banner of the River Princess Hatao Manch. The Manch prayed that the grounded vessel be immediately towed away as it adversely affected the fragile ecosystem of the Sinqueirm beach besides being an eyesore for tourists. During the hearing, the court observed that the “problem of the grounded vessel is a grave one” and inquired from the advocate general of the state (AG) Subodh Kantak why the state is unable to remove the vessel even after 8 long years. The AG replied that the state government had tendered the work for removal of the vessel, but all its attempts have been futile because the contractors defaulted in complying with the terms of the contract. The AG also informed the court that Jaisu Shipping Co Pvt Ltd, which was awarded the last contract to tow away the vessel had defaulted and therefore the government had forfeited the bank guarantee of Rs 5.5 crore. Subsequently, the Bench instructed the petitioners to serve the notice upon Jaisu by February 5 so as to prevent further delay in the matter, while adjourning the hearing to February 9.

NHAI project director out of HC contempt loop
29 Jan 2009, 0402 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) administrator-cum-project director Lt Col KP Sharma heaved a huge sigh of relief on Wednesday when the division bench of justices Uma Nath Singh and AN Jindal put an end to the contempt notice issued to him during a previous hearing on the matter. Haryana government’s counsel ML Saggar said that the high court had also ordered tenants sitting along the highway on Panchkula-Parwanoo stretch be issued notices after due publication. In case the tenants didn’t hand over possession, authorities concerned were at liberty to act in an appropriate manner. The judges had also perused an affidavit filed by Brahm Dutt, secretary, Union department of road transport and highway. However, they were not apparently satisfied with the same and asked the secretary to file a supplementary affidavit by February 5. The bench wanted the road transport secretary to clarify as to whether escalation in the cost of the project was included in the toll fee collected from road users and details regarding rate of increase in toll fee from dates of opening of toll plazas. The Centre?s counsel had then told the bench that Dera Bassi toll plaza’s term would expire on March 14, 2009, and would not be extended further. District and sessions judge, Panchkula, also had submitted a report on the matter as sought by the HC. The next date of hearing is March 16. During the previous hearing, justices Uma Nath Singh and AN Jindal had issued contempt notice to Sharma for ‘delay in issuing cheques towards payment of compensation to land owners’. The payment was to be made to persons whose land was acquired for construction of bypass around Zirakpur-Parwanoo road. The NHAI counsel had then submitted before the bench that the valuation report for structures on the acquired land was received on January 1, 2009 but the cheques were issued after a lapse of 18 days on January 19 only. This had infuriated the judges who asked Sharma as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against him.

Law to make elderly ‘secure’
29 Jan 2009, 0337 hrs IST, Vibhor Mohan, TNN
CHANDIGARH: With family bonds weakening and respect for elders gradually disappearing from among the younger generation, law has come to the rescue of senior citizens. Acting on the guidelines of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, abandoning parents or childless relatives above 60 years of age has been made a punishable offence in Chandigarh, which can invite an imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of Rs 5,000. A notification to this effect has been issued by home secretary Ram Niwas, who is also the secretary, social welfare. The states of Punjab, Tripura, Maharashtra, Goa and Himachal Pradesh have already implemented the Act with retrospective effect from August 27, 2008. According to it, any senior citizen who is unable to bear the expenses of his basic needs, from his own earning or from property owned by him, will be entitled to make an application against one or more of his children or grandchildren, who are not minors. A childless senior citizen can file a case against his relatives. It further states that children are obligated to provide basic amenities like food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment to their parents. More so, to ensure its effective implementation, sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) have been authorized to sit in judgment for cases from their jurisdiction, as maintenance tribunals and appeals against the orders passed by them can be made to the DC, who has been made the appellate authority. It states, ‘’If children or relatives of applicants fail to comply with the orders, the Tribunal may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying of fines and if the maintenance remains unpaid, may imprison the accused for a term which may extend to one month.’’ The Act further reads, ‘’If children or relatives neglect or refuse to maintain a senior citizen, the Tribunal may, on being satisfied of such neglect or refusal, order such children or relatives to make a monthly allowance at a monthly rate for the maintenance of elderly, as the Tribunal may deem fit.’’ The law extends to the whole of India, except Jammu and Kashmir, and applies to all citizens outside the country. However, it will come into effect only after the government issues a gazette notification

HC order to Siwan DM in arms licence case
29 Jan 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday directed the Siwan district magistrate to pass a final order in four months on petitions of Siwan MP Md Shahabuddin’s father, S M Habibullah, and his wife, Hena Saheb, challenging cancellation of their arms licences. A single bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad passed the order while disposing of the criminal writ petitions of Habibullah and Hena. It may be recalled that Shahabuddin is incarcerating in Siwan jail at present. Besides, he is facing criminal trials in some cases lodged with Hussainganj police stations regarding recovery of arms from his residence in Pratappur village. The cancellation of the arm licences of his father and wife was the result of the criminal cases filed under provisions of the Arms Act.

Lawyer sets girl on fire over property dispute
29 Jan 2009, 0345 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: It was a nightmarish experience for Kumari Rekha, the 25-year-old girl who was set ablaze by her neighbor and his driver over a property dispute, on Wednesday in Sanjay Circle police station area. Rekha has sustained 60 per cent burn injuries and is presently undergoing treatment at SMS Hospital, where her condition is said to be critical. Police have arrested three persons, including an advocate, and registered a case against them in this regard. A team of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) officials also visited the house and collected evidences, including fingerprints and cloths, from the spot of incident. According to the police, Ritusudan, a lawyer, and Kumari Rekha are neighbours who stay in rented houses. In her statement, Rekha has alleged that On Wednesday, when she went to the terrace after taking shower, Ritusudan, his driver and driver’s wife caught hold of her. The trio then poured kerosene all over her and set her on fire. Enveloped in flames, Rekha cried for help. By the time her parents could reach and douse the fire, she had already sustained 60 per cent burn injuries and was rushed to SMS Hospital. Doctors at the hospital said that her condition is critical and she has been put under constant observation. Investigating officer Dharam Veer said that the police have recorded the statement of victim and her parents, who claimed that the advocate would often ask them to vacate the house and threatened them with dire consequences if they don’t do so.

Jadeja’s bail plea rejected
28 Jan 2009, 2150 hrs IST, TNN
Supreme court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of former MLA Jayrajsinh Jadeja serving sentence in the murder cases of Rajkot district BJP leader Vinu Shingala and Nilesh Raiyyani of Gondal.
The court postponed his bail till March and extended the deadline for the proceedings of the case for further six months. As it has already been six months since SC had ordered for the hearing of the case to be completed, Jadeja appealed for a bail citing inordinate delay in case proceedings.
Source: Sandesh

High court source of livelihood for many
28 Jan 2009, 2146 hrs IST, Sandeep Banerji, TNN
ALLAHABAD: Administration of justice, extending legal aid, mediation by the Allahabad High Court notwithstanding, the fact remains that the existence of the high court in Allahabad has been a major source of revenue earnings for the business class as well as service providers. Whether it be the hoteliers or auto/bicycle rickshaw pullers, even the roadside tea stalls and dhabas or as for that matter porters at the railway station and travel agents – everybody stands to gain- albeit indirectly owing to the presence of Allahabad high court. As a matter of fact, several trains running at NCR including Sangam Express, Nauchandi Express and the newly introduced Allahabad-Mathura Express are running into profit owing to the overwhelming number of litigants arriving from western UP on a daily basis. In addition, private tour and taxi operators stationed in close proximity of the court make a fast buck by luring these litigants for a guided tour of the city for nominal monetary considerations. The list of such dependents can be unending if a study was to be conducted at a sub-microscopic level, but at the outset, law book publishers, book binders, hoteliers, photocopy machine and PCO owners, paan/tea stall owners, and even rickshaw pullers stand to gain by the presence of the temple of justice in the city. Says Asim Abdeen, a law book publisher, “The city proudly boasts to be the hub of law book publishers in the state. Had it not been for these publishers, the lawyer fraternity would have been hard pressed to find reference materials used during arguments of cases.” Nodding in agreement, general secretary of High Court Bar Association, Veer Singh stated that the presence of publishers, and that too just across the high court road proves to be of immense help. “At times, we merely send down a peon or ourselves visit the book shops to consult a particular book wherein references of a particular case have been cited,” he informs. For advocates residing outside the city, the presence of these publishers is the only source of seeking and upgrading their information on any aspect of law. The photocopy shop and PCO owners are hard pressed for time during the duration the courts sit from 10 am to 4 pm. “The rush of customers is so immense that we hardly get time to have lunch,” states Praveen Prakash, owner of a PCO in vicinity of the high court. Had it not been for the restaurants and `lai-chana’ stalls around the court, most of the lawyers perhaps would have to go hungry, claimed Vikash Bhatnagar, an advocate. A three-star hotel that has come up in close proximity of the court too owes a major portion of its clientele in the restaurant during afternoon to the lawyers and litigants whereas the rooms are usually occupied with other litigants who have to appear in court. The last in the chain are the rickshaw pullers who are more aware of the residential places of the lawyers in the city than anybody else. The work of these rickshaw pullers begins from the railway junction and bus station. In some cases, these people also provide the much needed advice to the litigants who are unable to find the counsel at their residence. The high court was shifted to Allahabad from Agra in the year 1869 and the name was subsequently changed to High Court of Judicature at Allahabad from the earlier name High Court of Judicature for the North West Frontier Province.

Court issues notice to forest dept over elephant’s death
28 Jan 2009, 2054 hrs IST
The court of special chief judicial magistrate Kanpur nagar has sought report from the forest department over the death of an elephant, over the custody of which it had been fighting a case with Mahant Bhuwaneshwar Das of Kanpur. Mahant had claimed that the elephant had been donated to him but the forest officials were keeping it confined in Kanpur zoo. The elephant died on January 11 and Mahant moved court claiming that it had been tortured to death. He sought the dead body of the elephant so that he could perform all the traditional rituals for its cremation. The court sought report from the forest department and asked it to submit the same within 24 hours.

Bail of rape accused rejected
28 Jan 2009, 2054 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: District and session judge Kanpur Nagar, Subhash Chandra on Wednesday, rejected the bail application of one Himanshu Katiyar involved in a gang rape case. Rejecting the bail application the presiding judge observed that the act of accused comes under the ambit of explanation 1 of 376 (g) IPC. Since there was no sufficient ground to release him on bail, his bail application was rejected. According go case file the prosecutrix (rape victim) a resident of Kalayanpur locality had charged four boys including Hemant Katiyar for committing gang rape. The victim in her report, said that she had given some money to Hemant. Hemant called her to his friends room to clear the debt when she had demanded her money. The victim went to the address given by Hemant at 10.15 am on December 13, 2008 and found Hemant along with his three friends Himant Katiyar, Ankit Katiyar and Ankit Shukla in the room. They called her inside the room and as soon as she entered the room they bolted the room and exploited her physically. During the exploitation they took photograph to black mail her. Since she was terrorised she did not lodge the report for next two days. The defence counsel in support of his claim argued that victim had not supported the version of FIR. In her statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C by the police she had clearly said that Hemant was outside the room. Hence, Hemant should be granted bail as he had not committed any crime. The government counsel strongly opposed and said that prosecutrix had clearly stated the role of accused in her statement. But he could not reply when he was asked why the victim refused to charge Hemant for committing rape. During the hearing a private counsel appeared for victim and filed an affidavit of victim and submitted that Hemant was involved in gang rape. The judge under the provisions of 376 (G) I rejected the bail application. According to provision where a women is raped by one or group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape.

Full backing for Judum: Raman Singh
27 Jan 2009, 0529 hrs IST, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh government on Monday gave its full support to Salwa Judum, the forest dwellers movement against Naxalite violence. In his

Republic Day speech, chief minister Raman Singh said, “It was because of such people and their movement that the country’s Republic is secured today” . He said the state government would take steps to secure the livelihood of these tribal people and added that steps for their rehabilitation would also be taken forward. Salwa Judum had become controversial following Left-liberals support charge that it was a state-sponsored militia. The “human rights” activists, who have been regularly making media interventions against Salwa Judum, had last year approached the Supreme Court seeking its ban. The SC, on its part, had asked the NHRC to file a status report. This status was a dampener of sorts for the activist crowd. “The state cannot be said to have sponsored Salwa Judum, but it has certainly extended support to it by way of providing security to the processions and meetings of Salwa Judum and also to the inmates of the temporary relief camps” . The NHRC came close to backing the Salwa Judum in its report. “The tribals cannot be denied the right to defend themselves against the atrocities of Naxalites, specially when the law enforcers are themselves ineffective or not present” . It had also denied charges of displacement on account of Salwa Judum. At the SC, the Centre, too, had opposed the disbanding of the Salwa Judum. “To assume that the Salwa Judum was an army of people with weapons and asking for it to be disbanded will be no more than asking for these people to be pushed out to be killed (by the Naxalites ),” additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium had told the court when it heard a batch of petitions seeking to have it disbanded. Activists Kartam Joga, EAS. Sarma and Ramachandra Guha had in their petition alleged widespread rights violations by members of the Salwa Judum.

Karnataka Police arrests Ram Sena leader
Submitted by Mohit Joshi on Tue, 01/27/2009 – 13:13.
Bangalore, Jan 27, : Karnataka Police on Tuesday arrested the State convener of the Sri Ram Sena, Prasad Attavar for his role in the attack on women at a pub in Mangalore.
The Police also arrested Pramod Muthalik, the president of the Karnataka unit.
Public anger prompted the law enforcement authorities to arrest Attavar.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has constituted a three-member team to investigate the attack.
The NCW has also asked the director general of police (DGP), Karnataka, to send an action taken report to the commission in the matter.
NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said the commission would decide on the future of course of action after Karnataka Police sends its report.
“This is a horrific crime and strict punishment should be meted out to the culprits,” Vyas said.
Twenty seven people have been arrested so far.
Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa on Tuesday said the police is gathering evidence on top functionaries.
“The government will not tolerate people taking law into their hands and indulging in criminal activities. Police is gathering evidence on the top functionaries for the arrest,” he said.
Yeddyurappa also ruled out any link between the Ram Sena and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
“I am telling this honestly, the party has nothing to do with the Sena, who have brought disgrace to the state,” he added. (ANI)

Residents demand relocation of business establishments
28 Jan 2009, 2018 hrs IST, Manvinder Singh, TNN
LUDHIANA: What could more precisely define the municipal corporation’s (MC) indifferent attitude towards the problems faced by Kucha Sukhram and Karim Pura residents than the fact that the civic body has not bothered to act upon even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directives given more than three months ago. The residents had in a complaint to the NHRC alleged that they had been forced to relocate themselves from the area as the wholesale cloths and business mafia in connivance with the MC officials were allegedly converting the residential locality into godowns for their inflammable wares. The residents rued that the traders encroached on the streets having a width of 5 metres allegedly just to store their flammable goods, due to which a grave threat posed to their lives and properties. Citing Gur Mandi, Khud Mohalla, and Fielgunj fire incidents that broke out a few years back, they feared similar incidents in their localities as fire brigade could not enter the narrow streets. They urged the NHRC to take notice of it and relocate the business establishments to some safer place. Acting upon this, the commission’s complaint bench comprising chairperson Justice RS Mongia and member KD Bhatnagar had vide order number 6273/10/08/PSHRC/2008/J-051405 issued on September 23, 2008, directed the MC commissioner and the district deputy commissioner to look into the complaint and dispose it of in accordance with the law. However, narrating their woes to the TOI, residents — Vipin Kumar and Makiat Singh — alleged that despite the orders, no officials had ever bothered to look into their problems.

Court transfers human trafficking case to Crime Branch
Jan 28th, 2009 By Sindh Today
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday transferred a case of illegal trafficking of youth through placement agencies to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police after pulling up local police for shoddy probe.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna was angry when Delhi Police filed the statements of 16 girls.
“You (Delhi Police) have produced the statements of girls and it appears that the statements have been taken in a cyclostyled manner and only the names are changed, the rest is the same,” said the bench.
The court then transferred the case to Crime Branch and asked the cell for Crime Against Women (CAW) to help in probing the case.
Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta objected to the court’s decision and said that the probe should remain with Delhi Police as the Crime Branch was not equipped with women personnel.
The court, however, rejected all objections. It also sought a detailed explanation from the four Metropolitan Magistrates, who have recorded the girls’ statements, asking why they all are similar.
The court also asked the home ministry and the National Commission for Women (NCW) to reply within a week.
The court was hearing a public interest petition filed by an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, alleging that placement agencies were responsible for the illegal trafficking of girls and sought a direction to the state government for compulsory registration of all such agencies.
According to the NGO, early this month about 35 girls and four boys were rescued from various placement agencies in the national capital.
Last week, the court had asked police why they had not registered the case under the appropriate sections of law against the placement agencies.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest) N.S. Bundela told the court they had taken legal advice before registering a first information report (FIR) on the charges of criminal breach of trust against the placement agencies for illegal trafficking of young boys and girls on the pretext of providing them jobs as domestic help.


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